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November 18, 2010 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Rage Guy started on 4chan as a way of expressing anger at mundane troubles. Hot Topic took the meme, mangled it, and put it on a shirt. But 4chan struck back: they declared that Rage Guy was now Race Guy [warning: irritating ironic racism] and that Hot Topic was supporting racism in youth culture. Today, Hot Topic announced they would be pulling their shirt from stores.
posted by Rory Marinich (261 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, Hot Topic. The clothing store all the cool kids hate.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:57 AM on November 18, 2010



Ah, Hot Topic. The clothing store all the cool kids hate.


Most of the uncool kids hate it too, don't worry.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 6:59 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


i buy hot topic tshirts. that probably makes me an asshole, but i like some of them.
posted by empath at 7:01 AM on November 18, 2010


Naturally. The best part is, no one needs to shop there. I do love how 4chan flips their lid anytime someone dare use one of their precious memes though. Always makes for an entertaining story.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Related. (yes i have that url memorized)
posted by empath at 7:02 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


And of course i botched it.
posted by empath at 7:03 AM on November 18, 2010


FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU--
posted by empath at 7:03 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You spelled it wrong.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:03 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


(fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu, beaten to it.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:04 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haha. What a great way to ruin the shirt.
posted by EtzHadaat at 7:04 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


...the F and U counts are off, with 10 F’s and 8 U’s rather than the standard 7 F’s and 12 U’s or the foreshortened 3 F’s, 7 U’s.

LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOO—
posted by DU at 7:05 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


How did they "mangle" Rage Guy though? From the "put it on a shirt" link, it looks exactly the same. Is it the use of multiple exclamation points? Because I'd totally agree that's mangling.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:08 AM on November 18, 2010


[Zoidberg voice] Hurrah! The Internet wins Again!
posted by djrock3k at 7:11 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Even the iconic yellow smiley face that is often held up as an example of an early meme was commoditized. I think it's just part of the meme life cycle, guys.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:12 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOO—

-NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT IS LONG?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:13 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think of 4chan as something akin to Godzilla or King Kong. Admire its destructive power from afar, but GOOD GOD PRAY IT DOESN'T NOTICE YOU.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:14 AM on November 18, 2010 [81 favorites]


Okay, I'm sorry, but this is kind of awesome. 4chan is a vile cesspool, but when they decide to flex their collective might in service of good, they wield far more influence over the world than a bunch of anonymous 13-year-olds and basement-dwelling perverts possibly should.
posted by ixohoxi at 7:15 AM on November 18, 2010 [25 favorites]


It seems to me by the time a meme appears on a t-shirt the meme has pretty much passed.

I got to wear my glow-in-the-dark embroidered bacon shirt only once before I realized it made me look like a tool. More so, I mean.
posted by bondcliff at 7:17 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't care one way or the other for Hot Topic, but their company name pretty much states that this is what they do. Rage Guy and his friends has way popular on Reddit for months, so it's not a surprise at all Hot Topic made a shirt. What I find annoying as hell is that Hot Topic says right up that they don't know who started Rage Guy and that they pretty much don't care - it's like the Cooks Source magazine all over again. It's on the internet, it must be free!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:18 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


How did they "mangle" Rage Guy though? From the "put it on a shirt" link, it looks exactly the same. Is it the use of multiple exclamation points? Because I'd totally agree that's mangling.

Pedantic response: OMG NOT THE SAME NUMBER OF FS AND US

Slightly less pedantic response: The idea of the "ffuuuuuuu---" was that it wasn't actually somebody saying "Foooo" or "Fyooou", it was that somebody was saying the word "fuck". The picture at the end isn't the guy at peak rage, even, it's a shot of him in the process of building up to that ultimate tantrum.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:23 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


David Lynch did it better.
posted by blucevalo at 7:23 AM on November 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


I don't remember where or why, but I was reading something related to this yesterday.

Specifically I was reading about the person who created the first Rage guy and how he his was working with Hot Topic (he brought the idea to them, they didn't appropriate it from the internet) to produce the shirt. This was after convincing some made to order t-shirt/coffee mug site to remove hundreds of unlicensed products.

So, instead of the creator getting paid for his work, 4chan has screwed over the creator.

What is great about that?
posted by thylacine at 7:24 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Something that always bugged me about that guy: is he saying "F. U." as in the initials for "Fuck You", or is he dragging out the first two letters of the word "Fuck"?
posted by meandthebean at 7:24 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think the racism at 4chan is ironic.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:24 AM on November 18, 2010 [20 favorites]


Hot topic is the way that we rhyme
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thank you Rory Marinich. I had been planning an AskMe question about if Rage Guy was saying "EFF YOU" or midway through saying "FUCK." At last, I have my answer.
posted by Locative at 7:26 AM on November 18, 2010


Specifically I was reading about the person who created the first Rage guy and how he his was working with Hot Topic (he brought the idea to them, they didn't appropriate it from the internet) to produce the shirt.

Cite?

I don't think the racism at 4chan is ironic.

It's not sincere. It's like appending -fag to everything; it's a way of being completely abrasive and shutting out anyone that's not already immersed in the memes and fucking with people.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:27 AM on November 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


Everyone has learned a valuable lesson that racism can still be used to get what you want.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:30 AM on November 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


it's a way of being completely abrasive and shutting out anyone that's not already immersed in the memes and fucking with people.

Being abrasive and fucking with people sounds like Racism: Classic Flavor to me, so I'm not seeing the difference here.
posted by yeloson at 7:36 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's not sincere.

But it's still foul.
posted by entropone at 7:36 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Today, Hot Topic announced they would be pulling their shirt from stores.

Fortunately, next month they'll replacing it with a shirt featuring a kickass 14th-century Apple Pie recipe.
posted by schmod at 7:40 AM on November 18, 2010 [19 favorites]


TIL FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU has a specified number of letters.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:40 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think the racism at 4chan is ironic.

The weird thing about the cesspool of racism, sexism and homophobia at 4chan is that it seems to be a complete inclusive, almost friendly kind of hate. Like, they may call people f-'s and n-'s and cumdumpsters, etc, all the time, but they also kind of adopt the same words for themselves. I don't know exactly what it is I'm trying to say, but i think in general it's mostly kids who like being shocking for the sake of being shocking, and I think most of them will grow out of it to be relatively well adjusted adults.
posted by empath at 7:43 AM on November 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


Hot Topic: "Why not let our customers express they're interest in meme's?"
posted by HopperFan at 7:43 AM on November 18, 2010


I applaud 4chan's brave stand against lousy merch.
posted by Mister_A at 7:45 AM on November 18, 2010


re. 4 chan: when they decide to flex their collective might in service of good...

Wake me up when that happens. Every time 4chan comes up I hate, fear and pity them a bit more.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:45 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the FB announcement:

Why not let our customers express they're interest in meme's?

Seriously Hot Topic? I hear trolling is a art. Also, you are morons.
posted by GuyZero at 7:46 AM on November 18, 2010


From the HT Facebook page: Why not let our customers express they're interest in meme's?

I guess trolling is a art.
posted by kurumi at 7:46 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, weird.
posted by GuyZero at 7:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Very, very sick of Rage Guy. I had to take an extended break from /r/pics because it was just so disappointing that any bored kid with MS Paint could get an easy hundred karma or more with that schtick, and seeing it multiple time a day, gah.
posted by Gator at 7:52 AM on November 18, 2010


How did they "mangle" Rage Guy though? From the "put it on a shirt" link, it looks exactly the same. Is it the use of multiple exclamation points? Because I'd totally agree that's mangling.

I don't know that they mangled it as much as they completely removed the context, and along with it teh funny. Rage Guy in itself isn't what's funny, what's funny is what makes him rage.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:57 AM on November 18, 2010


I've been seeing the troll guy a lot more often than the FFFUUUetc guy. Even as graffiti on walls.
posted by fungible at 7:57 AM on November 18, 2010


Racism you say? On the internet? How appalling!

(some of these is pretty funny)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:58 AM on November 18, 2010


4chan's racism is not sincere in the sense that they are not, by and large, attacking people because of their race. It's also not ironic racism, which I understand to be the appropriation of racist behaviour and language with an understanding that those viewing the behaviour are aware that racism is not intended and may be being mocked. (And even ironic racism is widely disapproved of.)

4chan does racism for effect without consideration for the consequences e.g. appropriation of lynching image macros by white nationalists, encouraging an atmosphere where genuine racism is tolerated etc.

I spend almost no time there, but I seem to remember that the 'fag' suffix is frequently/mostly used by posters to refer to themselves and others on the board, whereas 'nigger' is used mostly to refer to outsiders. I could be wrong, but interesting distinction if so.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:58 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


4chan's racism is not sincere in the sense that they are not, by and large, attacking people because of their race.

This is not the only sort of racism. They're taking advantage of a larger, more insidious form -- that they make use of racism, and get away with it, and use it to their advantage. Whether they hate people or not is moot. They're hacking people's pain for their own pleasure and advantage, and that's disgusting in whatever form it takes. They're not outsiders, hacking the system. They're the privileged, taking advantage of the system.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:04 AM on November 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


re. 4 chan: when they decide to flex their collective might in service of good...

Wake me up when that happens. Every time 4chan comes up I hate, fear and pity them a bit more.


They've tracked down and reported people who posted themselves abusing animals several times. It's hard to hate them for that.

I don't know exactly what it is I'm trying to say, but i think in general it's mostly kids who like being shocking for the sake of being shocking, and I think most of them will grow out of it to be relatively well adjusted adults.

A lot of this kind of thing is just a natural result from people publishing offensive content online instead of the old offline in person interactions. It's not as if 13-year-olds didn't say racist or offensive things 20 years ago, they just didn't have a global publishing platform to do it on. It's interesting to see a large brick and mortar company like Hot Topic who still has to play be all of the usual rules around publishing, indirectly collaborating with a community that has as few rules as possible by design.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:05 AM on November 18, 2010


There was this moment, once, when I was reading 4chan - I find it fascinating, I will not lie. Anyway. This moment.

I had noticed that its denizens had begun appending the suffix "fag" to every kind of identifier involving a person: if you were from the UK you were a Britfag. Australia? Ausfag. Two apparently-different posts but they were speculated as being from the same person? Samefag. And it kind of started off as a pejorative - Gaiafag, furfag, et cetera. But over time it just became something that was said. If one is from America, then one refers to oneself as an Amerifag. And so on, and so forth.

So.

There came a point where - and I'm sure this had happened before I saw it for the first time - someone was discussing their personal life, their love life, whatever. They were male, and they were attracted to males. And they identified themselves, without appearing to even think about it or conveying a hint of irony, as a gayfag.

I don't even know why, but that stuck with me. At this point I don't think the racism/homophobia/misogyny/hate on /b/ is ironic, or not ironic. I think that to try to call it either is to assume that the simple rules by which we understand our world might ever possibly apply to that place. They have, at once, so far ascended above and descended below traditional understanding that there really isn't much to do but stare, agape.

/b/ is a ridiculous, awful cesspool of horror, and it is also perhaps the best argument for the existence of the Internet.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:05 AM on November 18, 2010 [43 favorites]


Problem Hot Topic?

Best quote from /b

"Starting a new gay porn thread cuz straightfags filled the old one with tits"
posted by Ad hominem at 8:07 AM on November 18, 2010 [42 favorites]


/b/ is a ridiculous, awful cesspool of horror, and it is also perhaps the best argument for the destruction of the Internet.

FTFY.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:09 AM on November 18, 2010


thylacine: I was reading about the person who created the first Rage guy and how he his was working with Hot Topic (he brought the idea to them, they didn't appropriate it from the internet) to produce the shirt. This was after convincing some made to order t-shirt/coffee mug site to remove hundreds of unlicensed products.

If this is true, and you can produce the link you got this from, then indeed 4chan has dun goofed up, but absolutely nothing I've read refers to this; in fact, Google comes up with your comment here. If, indeed, the original Rage creator wanted to monetize it, then Cafe Press would be a simpler/better route for him.

Reading the "apology" from both Hot Topic and Cooks Source, I'm struck at how similar their actions were, and how similar their "apologies" were.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:11 AM on November 18, 2010


4chan's racism is not sincere in the sense that they are not, by and large, attacking people because of their race.

This is not the only sort of racism.


It should be clear that I don't believe it is the only sort of racism, since the remainder of my comment described two other forms.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:14 AM on November 18, 2010


Oh, yes, I wasn't disagreeing with you, just expanding on what you were saying. Could have phrased myself better -- sorry.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:16 AM on November 18, 2010


It isn't ironic.

I get why it sticks in peoples craws. I'm taken aback as well. But these are people who don't know what a douche originally was. These people don't know scumbag is a term for a condom. I'm not sure all of these kids know fag is a derogatory term for a homosexual.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:16 AM on November 18, 2010


That's OK, it just read like a misunderstanding of what I was trying to say. No worries.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:19 AM on November 18, 2010


It's not sincere. It's like appending -fag to everything; it's a way of being completely abrasive and shutting out anyone that's not already immersed in the memes and fucking with people.
People who say that are people who don't actually read 4chan. Or are retarded. I mean obviously, there isn't actually any way to know what someone's motivation is from behind a bunch of vapid one-liners where half the words are 'nigger'. You might like to believe that they're just being 'ironic', because you don't want to think of yourself as laughing along at a bunch of racist jokes with a bunch of racists. But that doesn't make it true.

And anyway, what difference does it make if it's "ironic" or not? It's still racism.
shutting out anyone that's not already immersed
You know who else it doesn't shut out? Actual fucking racists.
posted by Paris Hilton at 8:20 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure all of these kids know fag is a derogatory term for a homosexual.

Maybe not. Listen, the truth is, I don't really care what people call each other in a private forum that I don't care about. They can call themselves anything they want and I either won't know or will just think they're idiots. What bothers me here is when their behavior leaks outside the boundaries of the private and competitively fucked up world they've created. What they start using racism to affect change in the real world, they're reinforcing the real world power of racism, all to the purpose of rescuing some awful, thoughtless, dashed-off meme from a despised business.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:22 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


4chan's racism is not sincere in the sense that they are not, by and large, attacking people because of their race.
That's not true at all, they absolutely do attack people (if by attack you mean insult and/or harass) people because of their race. Because they are racists.

Use of the word "nigger" is nothing like their use of the word "-fag", it always refers to black people and it's always derogatory. It's possible be racist without being homophobic, idiots.
posted by Paris Hilton at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


4chan isn't racist. It's not non-racist either. 4chan is nothing at all. It's chaos, unformed, meaningless. Someone might post Hitler images because he hates Jews and wants to kill them. Or someone might post Hitler images because they're upsetting and piss people off. Or as an ironic statement. Or, you know, just for the lulz. It's the same Anonymous posting images for all purposes, for no purpose. There's no making sense of it, that's the point of 4chan.

I love 4chan but finally had to block it at home because occasionally some jackass thinks it'd be lulzy to post some CP. Too much chaos for me. These days I browse Chan4Chan instead (all sorts of NSFW), which has some editing but remains offensive, pornographic, and nonsensical. It lacks the finesse of 4chan, though.
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


4chan isn't racist. It's not non-racist either. 4chan is nothing at all.

It would be more accurate to say that as a group, 4chan members are racists.
posted by Paris Hilton at 8:28 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


They've tracked down and reported people who posted themselves abusing animals several times. It's hard to hate them for that.

I honestly don't know...it seems like they're doing the right (?) thing but for the wrong reasons. Maybe they just like terrorizing people, and if they do it to an animal abuser, hey, who can argue with that, right?
posted by JoanArkham at 8:33 AM on November 18, 2010


Paris Hilton, you've been successfully trolled by /b/. You've just illustrated what I was talking about earlier: most objectionable stuff that comes out of 4chan is to piss off people like you and others that speak earnestly on the internet.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:37 AM on November 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's chaos, unformed, meaningless.

Bullshit. It's a webforum made up of individuals who collectively engage in deliberately offensive actions. If you want to be all first-year-philosophy-undergrad about it, feel free. But don't pretend it's something more (or less) than it really is.

They're trolls. Sometimes truly brilliant ones.
posted by muddgirl at 8:40 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I honestly don't know...it seems like they're doing the right (?) thing but for the wrong reasons. Maybe they just like terrorizing people, and if they do it to an animal abuser, hey, who can argue with that, right?

We root for Godzilla when he's fighting some other monster which came to stomp on our cities, and we run from Godzilla when he's stomping on our cities, because no matter what he's doing at that moment, he's still Godzilla, and the fact that he's expending his energies in a different way than usual doesn't mean he's not Godzilla anymore.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:40 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


As for the racism I think thats really real racism, or whatever you want to call it. And is in no way ironic or Post Racial. Witness the constant drumbeat of "hood rat" fight videos where the comments invariably argue that minorties cause racism because they are all no good.

It is really ugly and its an unfortunate part of reddit as well.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


It would be more accurate to say that as a group, 4chan members are racists.

It would be most accurate to call 4chan users anything and everything that people are able to feel or do or be. The anonymity of it lets people be how they really are. If anything, the one sweeping generality that could be applied to the entire "group" is they do whichever outcome that would produce the most "lulz."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Paris Hilton, you've been successfully trolled by /b/. You've just illustrated what I was talking about earlier: most objectionable stuff that comes out of 4chan is to piss off people like you and others that speak earnestly on the internet.

And the saddest part is that they (and you, apparently) are extremely proud of this, like my cousin who enjoys poking hornets nests and wonders why everyone thinks he's a little dumb.
posted by muddgirl at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


4chan's racism is not sincere in the sense that they are not, by and large, attacking people because of their race.

That's not true at all, they absolutely do attack people (if by attack you mean insult and/or harass) people because of their race. Because they are racists.


Apologies if that wasn't clear, by 'attack' I meant the sort of raid that 4chan is well-known for. DDoS, pizza deliveries, prank calls etc. As far as I know, they choose raid targets based on the (perceived) behaviour of those targets, rather than race. (That doesn't make the raids acceptable, of course.)

The remainder of my comment made it clear that I agree with you that their language and discourse is racist and that this has dangerous consequences.

Use of the word "nigger" is nothing like their use of the word "-fag", it always refers to black people and it's always derogatory.

Again, I don't spend enough time there to be sure, but I think I've seen it used as a general-purpose insult on 4chan. (Again, that doesn't make it acceptable or non-racist.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2010


>That's not true at all, they absolutely do attack people (if by attack you mean insult and/or harass) people because of their race. Because they are racists.

Use of the word "nigger" is nothing like their use of the word "-fag", it always refers to black people and it's always derogatory.


That's a nice broad brush you've got there. Maybe I can borrow it the next time I need to paint my house?

It's possible be racist without being homophobic, idiots.

It's also possible to be a basement-dwelling shock jock wannabe without actually being racist or homophobic. The whole point of 4chan is that you don't know who's posting what, or why; trying to ascribe a single motive to a community the size of /b/ is absurd.
posted by xbonesgt at 8:42 AM on November 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


4chan isn't racist. It's not non-racist either. 4chan is nothing at all. It's chaos, unformed, meaningless. [...] There's no making sense of it, that's the point of 4chan.

Yeah, I don't buy this. Yes, yes, Anonymous is everyone, blah blah, and any given poster might not be sincere or active in their racism. Some might even count themselves as progressive. That doesn't change anything for anyone except themselves. They still play their part in the performance of racism. They encourage actual racists - inside or outside their community - to be more racist, both actively and passively. They create an opressive and harassing atmosphere for minorities. 4chan is racist.
posted by Drexen at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


And the saddest part is that they (and you, apparently) are extremely proud of this, like my cousin who enjoys poking hornets nests and wonders why everyone thinks he's a little dumb.

I'm not proud of it, nor involved at all. I'm just describing something that happened and is very similar to things that have happened in the past. You yourself said at 11:40 that they're trolls, which is basically what I said. They do things to piss people off. If you're pissed off, they've had their fun on your account.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:44 AM on November 18, 2010


trying to ascribe a single motive to a community the size of /b/ is absurd.

It's either a community or it isn't. We don't get to have it both ways--if they are a community then we can ascribe mutual or collective motives to their actions, even if those actions are driven by a minority of the community.

If they're not a community, then what are they?
posted by muddgirl at 8:44 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Where does the impression that 4chan is racist and homophobic come from? I can only imagine that it is entirely from the frequent use of the words 'nigger' and 'fag', which taken in 4chan context are meaningless. Is there anything else? Anything at all? There are no diatribes against particular races. There are no religious rants on sexual practices that are against nature.

And it's not like actual racism and homophobia on the net is hard to come by. Pass by a few actual racist and homophobic sites. Look at the sort of content that is there. I haven't come across any of that on 4chan.

The homophobia thing in particular is confusing to me. There is clearly a disproportionately large gay population on 4chan. Straight and gay porn mix freely.
posted by CaseyB at 8:46 AM on November 18, 2010


posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:44 AM

Nice dubs!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:46 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you're pissed off, they've had their fun on your account.

Oh, I hear you and agree, I just think it's pathetic to derive pleasure from causing pain to others. Sociopathic, actually.
posted by muddgirl at 8:47 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Problem?
posted by reductiondesign at 8:48 AM on November 18, 2010


Oh, I hear you and agree, I just think it's pathetic to derive pleasure from causing pain to others. Sociopathic, actually.

Are you a wizard? How can you remotely diagnose anonymous trolls on the internet?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:49 AM on November 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Paris Hilton, you've been successfully trolled by /b/. You've just illustrated what I was talking about earlier: most objectionable stuff that comes out of 4chan is to piss off people like you and others that speak earnestly on the internet. -- Inspector.Gadget
Like I said, If you don't think 4chan isn't racist, you either don't actually read it or are retarded.

The reality is there is no difference between an actual racist and a troll pretending to be racist in order to amuse himself. They both do and say the same thing. They are both, in fact, racists.

There is no difference between "successfully trolling" someone into making them belive you are a racist, and actually being a racist. If I've been successfully trolled, it's only proof of 4chan's racism. And if you really belive that you're a racist too.
As far as I know, they choose raid targets based on the (perceived) behaviour of those targets, rather than race. -- Busy Old Fool
Right, because as I said, you either don't read 4chan or are retarded.
posted by Paris Hilton at 8:50 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Use of the word "nigger" is nothing like their use of the word "-fag", it always refers to black people and it's always derogatory

Nah, some of my niggers know whas up wit dat.
posted by nomadicink at 8:51 AM on November 18, 2010


Where does the impression that 4chan is racist and homophobic come from? I can only imagine that it is entirely from the frequent use of the words 'nigger' and 'fag', which taken in 4chan context are meaningless. Is there anything else? Anything at all?

Well, at least one example has been posted in this thread.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:52 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The reality is there is no difference between an actual racist and a troll pretending to be racist in order to amuse himself. They both do and say the same thing. They are both, in fact, racists.

For some values of "racist". Are comedians that tell racist jokes themselves racist? To be clear, I don't think a lot of what 4chan does it particularly funny, but it seems to me that a lot of them are saying racist speech to try to get their peers to laugh when people they perceive as uptight get wound up about it. There is undoubtedly some actual, malicious racist speech on 4chan, but for the most part it seems to be in the vein of -fag and similar.

And if you really belive that you're a racist too.

I'll thank you not to leap to wholly unsupported assumptions, particularly in charging someone with something that's widely considered despicable. It makes you look like an ass and undermines your argument by eliminating yet another distinction between actually reprehensible behavior and discussing why a third category of behavior is or is not reprehensible for one reason out of several.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:57 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Being abrasive and fucking with people sounds like Racism: Classic Flavor to me, so I'm not seeing the difference here.

Classic racism (even in its modern online form as stormfront and similar sites) is more Lawful Evil, whereas 4chan's is more Chaotic Evil.

Is there anything else? Anything at all? There are no diatribes against particular races.

I think the Epic Beard Man incident is a good example of "real" racism on 4chan. Obviously the nature of trolling makes it difficult to discuss intent, but it's certainly more than just superficial labels.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:57 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where does the impression that 4chan is racist and homophobic come from? I can only imagine that it is entirely from the frequent use of the words 'nigger' and 'fag', which taken in 4chan context are meaningless.

Everything is meaningless when "taken in 4chan context". When you take them in the context of a non-idiotic person looking at 4chan and wondering whether it's racist/homophobic or not, the meaning is clear. Also, there's plenty of racist bullshit on 4chan besides just those words. Pool's closed. U gonna get raped. Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc -- I'm not going to delve through sewage to dredge up more examples -- they're obvious to anyone who's familiar with the site.

The fact that there are plenty of non-straight/non-white/etc people on 4chan doesn't mean that 4chan isn't homophobic/racist etc. It just means some such people can sometimes enjoy such humour.
posted by Drexen at 8:58 AM on November 18, 2010


Are you a wizard? How can you remotely diagnose anonymous trolls on the internet?

Hmmm? I didn't call any individual a sociopath. I said that 4chan the community is sociopathic.

I know we want to pretend that They Are Anonymous and what-not, but I'm not buying it. They are a community and I will treat them as such.
posted by muddgirl at 8:58 AM on November 18, 2010


taken in 4chan context are meaningless.

They're not an island. They behavior comes from and reflects the rest of the world. Homophobic and racist statements are never devoid of context, never meaningless. We just happen to have landed on one of the spots on the Internet where people think they're just being ironic, or provocative, by being hateful. But I don't know their motivations, and don't really care. And if they have successfully trolled me as a result, and get their day's worth of LULZ from that, well, hooray for them. It must be nice to be so easily amused by being a bully.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:00 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


There is no difference between "successfully trolling" someone into making them belive you are a racist, and actually being a racist.

Interesting assertion you keep making. Care to explain it?

I do like how you're repeatedly calling everybody who disagrees with you "retarded", though. Very classy.
posted by kafziel at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's chaos, unformed, meaningless.

But it is precisely incidents like this that make me question whether it is meaningless. The co-opting of countercultures by commerce is practically an archetype of the modern discourse and it is fascinating to see an entity like /b/ effortlessly disrupt this seemingly inescapable process simply by exposing the corporate malefactor to an inkling of its vile gestalt. I can't abide 4chan, left it forever long ago, but what is coming out of it culturally is not so easily dismissed.
posted by nanojath at 9:03 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll thank you not to leap to wholly unsupported assumptions, particularly in charging someone with something that's widely considered despicable.
Well I think it's pretty obvious. The only way you could really believe this was acceptable is if you were a racist. No offense. I mean I know it's popular these days to say you're not a racist, even this lady says she's "not a racist". (btw, when this was posted on 4chan along with her 'dox' the majority of the the posters said it was great and wanted personal information on the mailman so they could harass him -- and complained about using 4chan to "defend a nigger")

Basically you're saying you don't give a crap about black people and find it funny and entertaining to harass them. How is that not racist?
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:05 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


We root for Godzilla when he's fighting some other monster which came to stomp on our cities, and we run from Godzilla when he's stomping on our cities, because no matter what he's doing at that moment, he's still Godzilla, and the fact that he's expending his energies in a different way than usual doesn't mean he's not Godzilla anymore.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER


Biggest, most badass, most MFin' Eponysterical EVA!

Eponysterical EFTEEDUBBLEYU BEEYAAAAAATCH!!!

"I'm a Famous Monster/crush internet forums like they was TO-KYO!"
posted by Mike Mongo at 9:05 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


you either don't read 4chan or are retarded.

Would you mind terribly using another word here? This one is pretty offensive, and in this context, inaccurate.
posted by Myca at 9:06 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Would you mind terribly using another word here? This one is pretty offensive, and in this context, inaccurate.

Getting trolled: your doing it rong.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:08 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Basically you're saying you don't give a crap about black people and find it funny and entertaining to harass them. How is that not racist?

At this point I wonder whether you're so unreasonably angry about what a bunch of neckbeards do on the armpit of the internet that you've made it your mission to counter-troll everyone that tries to point out that you shouldn't be so upset and you can use your big kid words instead of "retarded".

You've demonstrated several times over that you're less interested in good faith debate than in wildly pointing fingers and baseless personal attacks. I'm going to leave you to stew in your own butthurt. Good day.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:10 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well I think it's pretty obvious. The only way you could really believe this was acceptable is if you were a racist.

Well, that's not true at all. Like you've said repeatedly here, they could also be retarded.

No offense.

Well, that makes it all better, then!
posted by kafziel at 9:10 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


U MAD BRO?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:15 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


[don't call people retarded - go to metatalk, this is MeFi talking about 4chan, not 4chan itself. Thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 9:16 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


The reality is there is no difference between an actual racist and a troll pretending to be racist in order to amuse himself. They both do and say the same thing. They are both, in fact, racists.

I think your concept of racism is reductive enough that you are actively discouraging discussion about the details of this issue. There are in fact, many forms of racism and discrimination, and what could broadly be described as hate speech is only one particular form of that. Just labeling people as racists and ending the discussion there misses a lot of what actually is different between a group like 4chan and any other group that collectively discriminates in one way or another.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:21 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


on 4chan racism -- they also produced this meme, which is the kind of anti-racist humor that could only be made by people deeply steeped in a racist culture. Which is what I mean by 4chan being hard to pin down.
posted by empath at 9:23 AM on November 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


I reckon it's true that Paris Hilton has kind of strayed from being completely civil. But then, it is pretty infuriating to deal with 4chan and their apologists, so that's understandable. *shrug* 4chan is alluring because they have the power to provoke and to harass, and because they're so chaotic that, for people who want to revel in harassment and racist humour, for whatever reason, they can cover themselves with a superficially convincing 'out'. It's not an 'out' that stands up to scrutiny, but 4chan don't heed scrutiny anyway.

And that is what makes their community a racist one, and a bullying one. Having a sense of humour doesn't change that.
posted by Drexen at 9:24 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, 4chan as a whole is racist because it's full of people who are racist, and we know those people are racist because they go to 4chan. Gotcha.
posted by kafziel at 9:30 AM on November 18, 2010


They should offer classes in public policy programs about harnessing the power of 4chan to do what you want it to. Imagine having the ability to control the nihilistic ID of the internet. Imagine...
posted by codacorolla at 9:31 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


4chan users skew probably 20 years younger than mefites. That's a full generation (arguably more in the modern pop culture-y/internet-y world). This is a factor. I can call one of my 30-something peers a dago, wop, mick, kraut, frog, etc and get laffs for being a little edgy ironic old timey racist. My kids won't know what those words mean until they start reading old books. My grandfather and maybe even parents would give me a beat down if I used those words around them.

These kids know that 'nigger' is so powerful that people get in trouble when they say it in the context of denouncing someone else for saying it. Adults skip it when they read a book aloud, while happily using 'fuck' at the dinner table. Hell, I'm debating going back and substituting 'n-word' for the n-word I used in that sentence back there.

It's weird to expect them not to use the one totally taboo word in the language, and you could make the case that it'd be nice if it loses its power because an entire generation got desensitized to it and totally forgets just how nasty the word once was. I'm not going to try to make that case, though, just in case I ever run for elected office.
posted by pjaust at 9:32 AM on November 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


They should offer classes in public policy programs about harnessing the power of 4chan to do what you want it to. Imagine having the ability to control the nihilistic ID of the internet. Imagine...

/b/ is not your personal army.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:32 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My rule of thumb for racism is the same as my rule of thumb for torture: If you have to explain why it isn't racism, it may be racism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:33 AM on November 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well, it's a mistake to think that all 4channers are racist, just the majority. There are probably people on there who don't like racists, but like I said the median /b/tard, and the community as a whole, are pretty racist.
I think your concept of racism is reductive enough that you are actively discouraging discussion about the details of this issue.
I think it's accurate though. It seems like the defenders of this stuff always say "but they don't really mean it" or say they are just trolling or whatever -- but how could they know? Do they actually know the people making these comments? Do they discuss their intent? My guess is no. And I also doubt most of the posters are even articulate enough to express that themselves.

The whole point of the definition is to make it something you can actually test. You shouldn't need to 'know someone's soul' to know if they are a racist or not. It has to be something you can analyze just by seeing what they say and do.
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, 4chan as a whole is racist because it's full of people who are racist, and we know those people are racist because they go to 4chan. Gotcha.

So, all the racism on 4chan isn't racism because 4chan isn't full of people who are racist, and we know they aren't racist because they go to 4chan, which isn't racist. Gotcha.

We're calling each other circular here because you're missing the point of my comment. I was conjecting as to how and why a place like 4chan forms. It wasn't trying to be a proof that 4chan is racist -- for that, see all the examples of racist humour that are on that site, as cited in this thread.
posted by Drexen at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they're not a community, then what are they?

An imageboard. That's the gist of it. There might be something like a common sensibility over there, but it doesn't seem pervasive or static. Chaotic ain't a bad way to describe it. The main thing holding them together is the imageboard. Sometimes something offends enough of 'em that a significant number will do something about it like take down a website.

All this moralizing and analysis is fine, but it seems to me we're looking at something like when a crowd of people hanging out at the same place stampedes because someone in their midst sprayed pepper spray or there's a run on a booth giving away free energy drinks. You can't even nail down why they were all there in the first place: maybe some were there for the food, some for the music, some for the venue, some for different music, some for the fireworks, and so on. You couldn't definitively characterize metafilter because some of the people who post here celebrate privilege denying dude.

4chan is 4chan. Whether you approve or not.
posted by millions at 9:40 AM on November 18, 2010


I work somewhere with a very liberal internet policy - there is the offchance we might have to look up sex sites, and my colleague had a fun time watching Meatspin.com one day - but I will absolutely not look at 4Chan or EncyclopaediaDramatica at work. Not just because I find both somewhat unfunny, but in terms of People Getting The Wrong Idea About Your Personal Views on Race Etc it's pretty much in the same category as Stormfront and sending round YouTube videos whose comments are all teenagers trying to be more racist than the other.

If you don't spend lots of time on the internet, which 90% of IRL people don't (I had to explain to someone what goatse was the other day - it made me reevaluate how I spend my spare time) then it just looks fucking racist.
posted by mippy at 9:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rory, you know too much about both 4chan and Hot Topic for my comfort.
posted by wierdo at 9:45 AM on November 18, 2010


An imageboard. That's the gist of it.

Again, I think this is unfairly minimizing their impact on the world. If they want to be "just" an imageboard, that's fine, but their doing a really bad job at it -- this post is great evidence of that. Anonymous came almost directly out of 4chan (as much as they tried to distance themselves later).

4chan is "just an image board" that happens to wield a massive influence by virtue of it's organization. I wouldn't be surprised if outside groups weren't already taking advantage of this in various ways, or plotting to.
posted by muddgirl at 9:46 AM on November 18, 2010


4chan is 4chan. Whether you approve or not.

4chan is not an eternal force of nature. It's made out of people. If more of those people realise that acting like a racist asshole makes you, in effect, a racist asshole, then 4chan will become less of a racist asshole place.
posted by Drexen at 9:46 AM on November 18, 2010


Right, because as I said, you either don't read 4chan or are retarded.

In the comment you quote from I wrote 'as far as I know' and put a disclaimer that I didn't spend much time there, so I'm not sure why claiming I don't know the site well is a meaningful riposte.

The raid on Iyanna Washington was a very ugly incident involving a lot of racism, but the ostensible reasons for it were her racist comments towards whites and supposed theft of Beard Guy's bag. I do think her race was a factor in the raid, but the fact that 4chan claimed differently indicates that, at the very least, they don't want to be considered sincere racists.

It's also worth remembering the raid on Hal Turner's web site, made because of his white supremacist views.

My original comment in this thread was made to highlight 4chan's racism, which I've continued to do in pretty much every comment I've made so far. I'm not sure why our fairly minor disagreement on the precise nature of their racism is causing such anger.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:47 AM on November 18, 2010


If 4chan is just an imageboard, the atom bomb is just a firecracker.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:47 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other words, 4chan annoys me not because they're trolls, but because they deny their own goddamned influece. At least, back in the day, Something Awful recognized that they are internet goons and accepted the mantle.
posted by muddgirl at 9:47 AM on November 18, 2010


Rory, you know too much about both 4chan and Hot Topic for my comfort.

Rory is nineteen, as he has mentioned a few times. Puts him right in the generation to know these things, as pjaust suggested.
posted by Gator at 9:49 AM on November 18, 2010


4chan is 4chan. Whether you approve or not.

It's not a question of approval. I don't care that 4chan exists. What annoys me is all the adulation it receives from people who aren't aware that it's full of racists.
posted by Paris Hilton at 9:50 AM on November 18, 2010


4chan users skew probably 20 years younger than mefites.

Yeah, which makes their whole "declaration" such a delicious piece of posturing. The whole "13-yr-old emo consumer whore" thing reads a lot different when you realize that the guy who made this sits behind that consumer whore in math class and probably has a crush on her.
posted by muddgirl at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


i am pretty sure there's no adulation going on in this thread.
posted by empath at 9:58 AM on November 18, 2010


For some values of "racist". Are comedians that tell racist jokes themselves racist?

As somebody who was telling jokes on stage last night -- some of them are, some of them aren't. Are you saying that 4chan is like that guy who shows up at an open mic and tells 'offensive' jokes in an attempt to be 'edgy'?
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think it's accurate though. It seems like the defenders of this stuff always say "but they don't really mean it" or say they are just trolling or whatever -- but how could they know? Do they actually know the people making these comments?

Well trolling in general is kind of a slippery topic, because in a lot of cases it is inherently disguised as sincerity. You can know when someone is saying offensive things or is aggressively disruptive in their interactions, but it's difficult to pin someone down as either being sincere or just trying to get a rise out of people. Especially when referring to an entire community on the scale of 4chan, which can have a relatively diverse population of users. I actually think it would be useful to have a term for trolling that does not include the concept of sincerity, since most of the time labeling something as trolling includes an unverifiable assumption about the intent of the troll.

But in this particular case, 4chan took a racial-neutral meme and injected racist aspects into it for a particular purpose. This is not only clearly trolling, but actually goes above and beyond trolling to not only offend people but also achieve a specific real-world goal as a result of people getting offended. This kind of purposeful use of offensive speech is more sophisticated than just racists saying racist things because they are racists, even if it's not any less hurtful.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:03 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that 4chan is like that guy who shows up at an open mic and tells 'offensive' jokes in an attempt to be 'edgy'?

I'm not sure what he's saying, but I'd say that calling "4chan" racist would be like calling "comedians" racist if there was a few comedians who were.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:05 AM on November 18, 2010


Also on the topic of comedians, is Sacha Baron Cohen racist? Antisemitic? Homophobic?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:07 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


My rule of thumb for racism is the same as my rule of thumb for torture: If you have to explain why it isn't racism, it may be racism.

Man, why you gotta be so racist?
posted by Snyder at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that 4chan is like that guy who shows up at an open mic and tells 'offensive' jokes in an attempt to be 'edgy'?

Not really. I explained what I meant in the rest of that paragraph. I think most "edgy" comedians try to work by having audiences laugh at things because they are cognizant that the jokes are offensive and are caught between laughter and embarassment (or repulsion, on some topics), while trolls work by getting a few people really riled up with OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE HE SAID THAT and then getting everyone else to laugh at the angry people. But 4chan's constant use of slurs (including self-referential ones like the -fag variations) goes beyond just trolling and instead of merely pissing people off for laughs walls off anyone who doesn't appreciate that type of talk. In that sense it functions like some of the other troll stuff they do (posting forbiddden content to Youtube, mocking camgirls, etc.).
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:10 AM on November 18, 2010


i am pretty sure there's no adulation going on in this thread.

Using the same language that channers use to describe themselves ("formless" "meaningless" yadda yadda) is easily mistaken for support and admiration.
posted by muddgirl at 10:11 AM on November 18, 2010


I never suggested 4chan was a force of nature, or that they don't have any impact. If you read my post, I kind of suggested the opposite.

Sometimes, in your neighborhood, there's a guy who's made some enemies. Maybe a high school gym teacher who's a ball-buster. Maybe his house gets egged and toilet-papered, maybe a swastika gets spray-painted on his door. Maybe later that week everyone gets called out of class to attend an assembly with the purpose of having a serious discussion about racism. Maybe the kid who bought eggs, toilet paper and spray-paint doesn't go to the assembly because he'd rather smoke in the bathroom, and maybe he's a racist, or at least is willing to exploit racism. He's had an impact. He's not a force of nature. Some say he's a hero. Others, just a punk that's enjoys causing an uproar, as punks are wont to do.


It's not a question of approval. I don't care that 4chan exists. What annoys me is all the adulation it receives from people who aren't aware that it's full of racists.


Sounds like you care that they exist, and you want people to know you don't approve.
posted by millions at 10:13 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


goes beyond just trolling and instead of merely pissing people off for laughs walls off anyone who doesn't appreciate that type of talk

I.e. non-racists.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:15 AM on November 18, 2010


I.e. non-racists.

It's possible to be non-racist without being a vocal anti-racist. In fact, that's basically the 4chan stance on everything offensive. Does anyone actually enjoy Shitting Dick Nipples? No, but it's posted constantly to bait people. Someone who feels like they're part of the 4chan in-group defines that partly by not being offended. The "shock jock" comparison a ways up is apt.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:20 AM on November 18, 2010


So basically what we've concluded is that 4chan is directed by a large group of unpleasant teenagers that pride themselves on being unpleasant. Great, now how do we stop them from infecting everything else on the internet?
posted by muddgirl at 10:22 AM on November 18, 2010


Does anyone actually enjoy Shitting Dick Nipples? No

Would you mind terribly not making any assumptions about what people like here? This one is pretty offensive, and in this context, inaccurate.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:26 AM on November 18, 2010


It's possible to be non-racist without being a vocal anti-racist.

Yes, I should have said "actual minorities". Those are the people you obviously don't want to be around, since it would wouldn't get to laugh at racist jokes then :(
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:26 AM on November 18, 2010


If this is true, and you can produce the link you got this from, then indeed 4chan has dun goofed up, but absolutely nothing I've read refers to this; in fact, Google comes up with your comment here. If, indeed, the original Rage creator wanted to monetize it, then Cafe Press would be a simpler/better route for him.

I'm going to tip quite a few of my hands here, so if I have any friends left after this, I'll be surprised.

1. 4chan is fine. the Random board (/b/) is a horrible place full of horrible people. It's also full of truly awesome things and boundless creativity. Sorta like humanity. 4Chan has about a dozen different boards for different topics, most of them regulated and moderated. I've had great discussions on the /co/ and /mu/ boards, for example. /b/ is, to borrow a Simpsons quote, 4chan's (and the internet's) "Special cake to ruin".

I'm not arguing that it can get ugly when the more hateful garbage spills out into the real world, with actual tragic consequences, but pretending that this group of idiot kids is this structured racist organization is honestly overthinking it. It's the same snowball effect of any group of immature people: 5 kids are hanging around outside a Mcdonalds. One kid thinks it'd be funny to walk by the drive thru window and say "Hey! Lemme get a shake!" Everyone laughs. Now the other kids want to do it too. Next thing you know, the police show up and everyone runs. Add internet anonymity and increase the potential number of bored kids by factor of 1000 and there's your motivation. Even the "raids" tend to grow boring and peter out after a time. Remember two summers ago when 4chan was going to "destroy" Scientology?

This is not me defending /b/ as a bastion of good will, it's largely stupid kids being stupid on the internet, but this in and of itself is a fairly recent phenomenon. People act like "kids today" are more notably annoying than they used to be: they aren't, but in generations past, when you graduated high school you got to stop hearing about what kids were into, unless you ventured into a toy store or the Wendy's all the high school kids hang out at. Now with LiveJournal and Facebook and Youtube and Myspace and 4chan and DeviantArt and god knows what else, the social lives and dramas of youth (and associated marketing) are much more inescapable.

Furthermore I'd argue that with enough of our generation becoming adults and taking our toys and video games with us (much to the chagrin of the Boomer old guard who've been telling us all our lives that one day we were gonna have to wear a suit and chain ourselves to a family and shit out kids and forget what we enjoy in favor of the status quo) that more and more people past the age of 20 are going "Hey, I have a career and a home and all that crap, and i STILL like comic books and video games, and hey look everyone wants to sell it to me, suck it life-of-pretending-to-be-my-parents-until-i-die-old-and-unsatisfied!"

But I digress.

2. Someone posted this: If this is true, and you can produce the link you got this from, then indeed 4chan has dun goofed up, but absolutely nothing I've read refers to this; in fact, Google comes up with your comment here. If, indeed, the original Rage creator wanted to monetize it, then Cafe Press would be a simpler/better route for him."

I can't comment regarding the originator of the Rage Guy, but I have a polite but firm email from the creator of Coolface / Trollface after I screenprinted the design onto a shirt and sold them on eBay. (Dick move on my part, I know, but we've since settled things) A primary reason for this action is because he is in talks with a manufacturer about releasing an official Coolface shirt, and wanted to be the one to tell people to knock it off instead of letting whatever company that will be making the shirt sic their legal team on them.

3. I'm probably a few years past their target demographic, but again, I still like cartoons and video games in spite of having a 403(b) and all the other "grown up" tics on my official maturity check list. I generally dont' like their fashion, but I love t-shirts, and since trends are so ephemeral, their clearance section is generally a hotbed of dirt cheap shirts, along with regular "Additional 50% off!" sales and coupons. You call it "corporate sell-out commercialization of my youth", I call it "I got a Snoop Dogg AND a Caustic t-shirt for $6"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:27 AM on November 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


How unusual for metafilter: everyone getting their panties into a bunch deciding who is and who is not racist. All the better to prove that posters in question are paragons of racial sensitivity and awareness. Here's a tip: once you've "proven" that someone else is racist, that's the end of the discussion! You've just proven that they are evil and you are not. Also, here's an easy way to tell if someone else is racist: if they are saying something about race and you're uncomfortable, it's Hitler-level racism (all racism is the same, so all racism is Hitler-level). Oh, I forgot to mention, the racist in question must be white; when black people say something that makes you uncomfortable about race (and you're white), that's because you are ashamed of your role in exploiting that person (i.e. you are the racist). If you're not white, these rules don't apply, and you may be forced to adopt a more rational attitude.
posted by Edgewise at 10:29 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, I should have said "actual minorities". Those are the people you they obviously don't want to be around, since it would wouldn't get to laugh at racist jokes then :(

Fixed. "Actual minorities" do post on /b/, and occasionally say so and troll other posters (who they depict as generic white people). Those "actual minorities" do what every other poster on /b/ does, which is ignore the constant stew of offensive things, many of which aren't related to race. That's how you participate in /b/.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:33 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are two kinds of people out there: those who have visited 4chan and realized that it is a distillation of the internet (the good the bad the ugly the ohmg), and those who have not yet visited 4hcan.

4chan is filled with crazy shit - too much to list. Just like the internet. Furry fan fiction, for example. And that's probably the tame stuff.

There is also some folks there who are scary-good at locating people - such as 4Chan Identifies Racist Mail Man Attacker.

There are some... interesting... philosophical discussions there. But like anywhere else, the shocking and existing stuff gets all the attention.

Most people sum up 4chan as "for the lulzs", which Activision found out for themselves.

And finally V sums it up rather well, as only V can. Or perhaps a movie poster gets it better.

Arguing about what 4chan is? That's overthinking several plates of beans.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:34 AM on November 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I screenprinted the design onto a shirt

Oh dude you're the mindjacket guy? Were you handing out flyers outside the Motorhead show at 9:30 last October-ish? If so, thanks!
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a tip: once you've "proven" that someone else is racist, that's the end of the discussion! You've just proven that they are evil and you are not.

Problem?
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:37 AM on November 18, 2010


...how do we stop them from infecting everything else on the internet?

How do you stop punk teenagers from skating in the park and vandalizing the houses of the teachers they don't get along with? Well, you can waste a lot of resources and try to police them, act like they're terrorists (which, by the way, will not make the problem go away). Or you can recognize this as regular behavior from a small part of society and just not make a big deal about it. They will grow up and the next generation will take their place. So too Anonymous.
posted by millions at 10:39 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are comedians that tell racist jokes themselves racist?

Um, yes?
posted by dersins at 10:41 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


All the better to prove that posters in question are paragons of racial sensitivity and awareness.

Since this site displeases you, perhaps you might be happier elsewhere. But using a specific discussion to characterize the entirety of MetaFilter as being something you personally find contemptible is -- well, pretty much precisely what you're charging us with doing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:41 AM on November 18, 2010


Oh dude you're the mindjacket guy? Were you handing out flyers outside the Motorhead show at 9:30 last October-ish? If so, thanks!
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:35 PM on November 18 [+] [!]


Ha! Yes that was me! Small world!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:42 AM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


So basically what we've concluded is that 4chan is directed by a large group of unpleasant teenagers that pride themselves on being unpleasant. Great, now how do we stop them from infecting everything else on the internet?

Is there really a danger of 4chan infecting everything else on the internet? It's the anonymity, the negligible moderation and unarchived nature of 4chan that foster an environment that's so trollish. Most other places on the internet have all those things, so how is 4chan going to infect the rest of the internet?
posted by 23skidoo at 10:43 AM on November 18, 2010


There is also some folks there who are scary-good at locating people - such as 4Chan Identifies Racist Mail Man Attacker.

Yes, but as I said, if you'd read the actual thread you'd see they were mainly upset at 4chan being used to "defend niggers" and demanding the identity of the victim so they could troll him (which they got). And her personal information was posted all over the internet, someone just posted it there.

This is the kind of adulation and whitewashing I was talking about.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:43 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh. It occurs to me that this thread might be going very differently if we still had the IMG tag.
posted by Gator at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2010




I'm half convinced that Paris Hilton is in reality an unrepentant /b/tard who is super-ironically trolling this thread for lulz (I mean you gotta appreciate the spectacle of a pop-culture parody sock puppet account acting out the spectacle of being the putative voice of dissent in a Metafilter thread by virtue of chiding everyone for not excoriating racism enough. That's deep).
posted by nanojath at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Paris: I really don't get your whole point about this at all. You don't like 4chan, that's fine, but it seems like you want everyone to never ever visit the place, and want to kill it with fire. Chill out and relax and accept that people are going to see what they want to see in 4chan (and the internet etc).
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:50 AM on November 18, 2010


Heh. It occurs to me that this thread might be going very differently if we still had the IMG tag.

An eloquent once sentence thesis for never, every bringing it back.
posted by nanojath at 10:51 AM on November 18, 2010


4chan is a sausage factory. You like the lolcats and birthday parties, but you really don't want to see the process that leads up to that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


klangklangston: and those links are pretty much what I expected 4chan to deliver. You've got more balls than I to link to them, sir.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:52 AM on November 18, 2010


fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts

-Albert Einstein
posted by Elmore at 10:56 AM on November 18, 2010


it seems like you want everyone to never ever visit the place, and want to kill it with fire.
What I want is for people to have an accurate perception of it. I realize that means some people apparently think I don't want it to exist. I don't think that's true, If you want to think that, that's fine. I don't really care.

If you think that everyone already knows what's up, then there's nothing to be worried about, right? Nothing I say could have any impact.
posted by Paris Hilton at 11:05 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Overthinking Several Plates of Beans.
posted by millions at 11:06 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

posted by entropicamericana at 11:07 AM on November 18, 2010


If you think that everyone already knows what's up, then there's nothing to be worried about, right? Nothing I say could have any impact.

You have visited 4chan in, say, the last two years, right? What the hell are you seeing that the rest of us are not? It sure as hell doesn't look like Mr Rodgers to me, luring kids in with their promises of fun times only to tie them up and subject them to all sorts of horrible stuff.
My kid knows about 4chan from her friends and knows what it is, and has no illusions of the content there.
Right about now it seems like you're the guy telling others to not visit lemonparty, just so that people visit lemonparty.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:13 AM on November 18, 2010


Ad hominem nailed it. There's a lot of racism on 4chan that goes beyond knuckleheads using taboo words. People put forth classic racist views — things that were certainly taught to them by older people they respect. It's the same shit racism you hear from young, white kids that have no clue what the fuck they're talking about. I know because I've heard the same sentiments from idiots "IRL."

Again, it's not everyone on there, but since it's mixed in with those edgy kids and their taboo words, then glossed over with the permissiveness of OMGZ NOBODY CONTROLS THE 4CHANZ ISN'T THIS SO NEAT AND DIFFERENT, it just festers. And then, when someone is like, "yo, what the fuck is that smell?" the answer is inevitably "nah, man, that's not a pile of shit, we just love farting together for the lulz."
posted by defenestration at 11:28 AM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


/b/ is not your personal army.

At least not that they know about. So far viral advertising has been done on a person to person level -- you try to generate buzz for a product by creating an irresistible viral component that adds enough value that people pass it on to their friends.

What if, instead, you use the anonymity of boards like 4chan and tried to virally convince entire communities to take specific action beyond just buying a product. What if you became skilled enough at influencing 4chan (and communities like 4chan) that you could monetize it and rent out faux-test time for PACs and corporations? Given enough spare processor cycles you could set up any amount of geographically dispersed sock puppets to generate the initial wave (that would pass modest scrutiny) and effectively wield the free time of thousands of disaffected teenagers.

It's like the Simpons' quote "depressing teenagers is like shooting fish in a barrel", but what if you could effectively monetize and action all of that teen angst?
posted by codacorolla at 11:33 AM on November 18, 2010


"nah, man, that's not a pile of shit, we just love farting together for the lulz."

And then, someone lights it. And thus, btards were born.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:34 AM on November 18, 2010


Basically: getting the Panther Moderns to simulate a terrorist attack while you're inside the building stealing the super virus.
posted by codacorolla at 11:34 AM on November 18, 2010


I'm astonished that anyone could believe that 4chan is not a racist, sexist, homophobic community. Here are some people who can never go to 4chan:

Women who don't want to be told tits or GTFO.
Black people who don't want to be called n-----.
Queer people who don't want to be called fags, and so on.

I mean, imagine if I were to say, "Hey folks, I'm not cool with being called a fag, even if you are just joking around. It's a really loaded term with a lot of baggage that weighs particularly heavily on folks who are subject to discrimination because of their sexual orientation, so it makes it difficult for me to participate if you do it." You know damn well the first response would be some variation of, "Okay fag."

Oh sure, they have some funny images, and not everyone is a member of the David Duke Youth Brigade, and hell, broadly considered, isn't it also true that women, black people, queer people, and so forth can't really live in society without encountering this stuff too? Call this the 4chan defense.

All of that is beside the point. If a black person goes to 4chan, the n-bomb gets dropped. If a queer person goes to 4chan, fag epithets start flying. If a woman goes to 4chan, its tits or gtfo (and god help you if you post an image and someone thinks you're ugly, and someone will). And while that may happen in some places in society, it doesn't happen everywhere. Moreover, some of the places where it doesn't happen don't make excuses for it when it does.

Consider this: You go out for drinks with a bunch of new people. One guy keeps dropping the n-bomb. Everyone else takes it in stride. Do you make the 4chan defense, or do you write these guys off as racists? Try it again with one guy calling folks beerfags, or just fags. 4chan defense? Suppose one guy is hollering at women. 4chan defense?

Of course you don't because the 4chan defense is absurd, and you'd quite rightly assume that anyone who used it to justify continuing to hang out was deluding themselves. One could, I suppose, argue that the message board is different because they're 13 or are basement dwellers. So fine. Suppose the new people you've met are 13-year-olds and basement dwellers. The 4chan defense is still absurd. If anyone saw you with such a group, laughing along or ignoring the epithets, they'd figure you for one more asshole who can't be bothered to care about (and thus actually contributes to) the normalization of racism, sexism, and homophobia. One more dude who is part of the problem. And they'd be right. The only difference with 4chan is that you don't run the risk of other people seeing you not care, and that's not a hell of a defense.
posted by Marty Marx at 11:36 AM on November 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


What if you became skilled enough at influencing 4chan (and communities like 4chan) that you could monetize it and rent out faux-test time for PACs and corporations

A more likely, and I seem recall either done or near-done, scenario is that they con 4chan to "go after" someone and ruin them, or worse. The problem with this - and your - idea is that once the find out, nay, even suspect that this is happening, 4chan would turn on you like a nest of hornets that you were throwing rocks at. In this case, shove your brother towards them and run like hell.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:38 AM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


You go out for drinks with a bunch of new people. One guy keeps dropping the n-bomb. Everyone else takes it in stride. Do you make the 4chan defense, or do you write these guys off as racists?

Finish my beer and leave, and don't bother hanging with these people in the future. Other bars, other places, other people, other faces. It's not like 4chan is the only place you can go. It's like bitching about the rough sections of downtown - simply fucking don't go there unless you're planning on fitting in somehow.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:41 AM on November 18, 2010


Here are some people who can never go to 4chan:

Hrm. On 4chan I would be called an oldfag. On MeFi I'm apparently retarded.

Seems like a push, there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:43 AM on November 18, 2010


Even the iconic yellow smiley face that is often held up as an example of an early meme was commoditized. I think it's just part of the meme life cycle, guys.

Actually, that started as a commodity (designed as a marketing thing for an insurance company in Worcester, Massachusetts) and became a meme. My parents knew the guy who designed it, and I have one of the original buttons.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:50 AM on November 18, 2010


Harvey Ball?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:51 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which part is a push, ChurchHatesTucker? That black people can't go to 4chan without being called n-----, that women can't go without being subject to sexual harassment, or that queer people can't go without being called fags?

Or are you just saying, "Yeah, well, MeFi is bad too!"? Cause the mods actually police the use of "retard" pretty heavily. When it happens, it gets shut down. But even if that weren't the case, how would it make 4chan less racist, homophobic, or sexist?
posted by Marty Marx at 11:52 AM on November 18, 2010


Fair enough, Old'n'Busted, but I'm not complaining about people who are saying "Man, don't go to 4chan. I went there and it was totally racist." I'm complaining about the people who don't think it really is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
posted by Marty Marx at 11:55 AM on November 18, 2010


Which part is a push, ChurchHatesTucker? That black people can't go to 4chan without being called n-----, that women can't go without being subject to sexual harassment, or that queer people can't go without being called fags?

Nobody can go (or at least post) at 4chan without being called a fag. Further self-identification will largely determine the further insults you can expect. That's 4chan. If you're quick to take offense, it's not the place for you.

Or are you just saying, "Yeah, well, MeFi is bad too!"? Cause the mods actually police the use of "retard" pretty heavily.

I'm not really saying that it's comparable to 4chan (there's a reason I ponyed up the five bucks) but we're not as high and mighty as we like to think. And as far as I've seen, 'retard' isn't policed at all (and I'm not saying it should be.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2010


If you're quick to take offense, it's not the place for you.

Not wanting to be called a fag is "quick to take offense"?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:09 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as far as I've seen, 'retard' isn't policed at all

Um ...
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:10 PM on November 18, 2010


I'm complaining about the people who don't think it really is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

Then either (a) you're being trolled (b) you're being trolled hard (c) they have never visited 4chan and don't know what they are talking about.

It would be like me saying that Fark is nothing but awesome photoshops and people are cool there.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:19 PM on November 18, 2010


Oh sure, they have some funny images, and not everyone is a member of the David Duke Youth Brigade, and hell, broadly considered, isn't it also true that women, black people, queer people, and so forth can't really live in society without encountering this stuff too? Call this the 4chan defense.

Another possible defense is that while /b/ is a significantly more hostile and offensive environment for those groups than society in general, part of the point is that they are hostile and offensive to everyone. If some random person at a bar calls someone ugly, that could hurt more than if the guy at the state fair at the dunk tank calls that person ugly, because everyone knows all he does all day is insult everyone who comes near him. You could argue that general misanthropy is worse than racism/homophobia/sexism or any other kind of abuse directed at an individual group, but it doesn't have as much of an "us vs them" feeling to it.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:20 PM on November 18, 2010




Not wanting to be called a fag is "quick to take offense"?

I'm increasingly of the opinion that you either 'get' /b/ or you don't. If getting called a newfag or whatever is going to set you off, *don't go there.* Ever.

It's an Id factory. Be prepared to wade through a lot of shit before you stumble on a diamond.

If you decide it's not for you, try Reddit. There's a lot of crossover and they tend to filter out the nastier bits.

Um ...

Really.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:27 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, really. Jessamyn told him to cut it out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:38 PM on November 18, 2010


Or her. I shouldn't presume Paris' gender.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:39 PM on November 18, 2010


Like I said. They affix "fag" to everything, straight people are called "Straightfags" and there are gay porn threads. I'm sure there is plenty of real homophobia as well. But there is a qualitative difference between that and the racism that we've been talking about.
posted by Paris Hilton at 12:40 PM on November 18, 2010


I'm increasingly of the opinion that you either 'get' /b/ or you don't.

Nonsense. It's entirely possible to "get" /b/ and still think it's a cesspool.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get /b/. I'm glad it's there. But I don't want to spend any time there.
posted by empath at 12:46 PM on November 18, 2010


Nonsense. It's entirely possible to "get" /b/ and still think it's a cesspool.

Fair point. I don't really disagree with that assement. I think the difference is whether you're willing to wade through a cesspool.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:48 PM on November 18, 2010


True. I'm not. As I said earlier, whatever they want to do in the dubious pleasure of their own company is their prerogative as consenting teens. It only becomes an issue for me when it spills out into the real world. But it does, as with this instance, when they made extensive and expert use of racism in order to get their way.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:52 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


As I said earlier, whatever they want to do in the dubious pleasure of their own company is their prerogative as consenting teens. It only becomes an issue for me when it spills out into the real world. But it does, as with this instance, when they made extensive and expert use of racism in order to get their way.

Yeah, but this was /b/rilliance.

They had a meme, and it was appropriated in a way that they didn't approve of. So they changed the meme. For Great Justice. Via racism.

It's mind-boggling when you really think it through.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:58 PM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Recently there was an article about 4chan in MIT Technology Review: Radical Opacity (reg required).

The article sums up really well what really makes 4chan a creative meme-factory.

The anonymity on 4chan lets people make multiple revisions of a meme without worry about early versions tarnishing their name. Having an identity tied to your post makes failure costly. Anonymity makes failure cheap.

There's also another positive aspect of anonymity. To quote Christopher Poole, the founder, "People deserve a place to be wrong." On sites like Facebook where you are forever tied to your statements, something you say when you're 16 can be dredged up when you're 40.

The thing I like about the statement "People deserve a place to be wrong" is that it can be interpreted in multiple ways, and we should provide a place to where all of those meanings are protected.
posted by formless at 12:59 PM on November 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


We're just going to have to disagree on that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:00 PM on November 18, 2010


That was to Church.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:00 PM on November 18, 2010


HOW DO YOU SAY /b/ licious?
HOW DO YOU SAY /b/ vine?
HOW DO YOU SAY /b/ gorgeous!
/b/ with-it?
...HOW YOU SAY /b/tard?

The groove is in the fart
posted by everichon at 1:07 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like I said. They affix "fag" to everything, straight people are called "Straightfags" and there are gay porn threads. I'm sure there is plenty of real homophobia as well. But there is a qualitative difference between that and the racism that we've been talking about.

Wow. Seriously? Wow.

No, there's really not. 4chan is not collectively a racist site or a racist community, for the exact same reason that it's not collectively a homophobic site or a homophobic community, which you seem to recognize here but not there.
posted by kafziel at 1:11 PM on November 18, 2010


I tend to think of getting mad at 4chan as getting mad at the ocean. Useless and (if you apply an ancient Greek animism theory to it) the ocean could very well get pissed off and wreck your shit. Sometimes the ocean washes up cool stuff, sometimes it arbitrarily washes away your entire life.

4chan is like... something that has to exist. Just like the water of the world goes to the lowest, deepest part of the Earth's crust, the nihlism, anger, hatred, and absurdity of being a teenager seeps down to 4chan. There's literally no barrier for participation beyond wanting to participate. You don't pay 5 dollars, you don't have to write well, you don't even have to actively participate on the board. You don't have to sign up. It's not good, not bad, it just is. The results of it can be good and can be bad, but its existence is elemental to the nature of the social web.

Like water in rivers flows to the ocean, time and effort on the Internet (unless properly channeled) flows to the easiest location. 4chan is the easiest location for this time and effort if you're of a certain age and mindset, and if it wasn't 4chan it would be something else.

Likely people who are on 4chan now won't always be. I used to be a shitheel as a teenager myself. Look at your past behavior and see if you're honestly proud of everything you did from 1 to (say) 20. Ideally you learn from being a shitheel, although many people don't, and persist on being a shitheel on through death. There are other ways to channel your time and effort on the web that require more time, perhaps net less payoff (and the instant approval of thousands for a clever reformulation of a meme is a powerful thing), but are ultimately more satisfying in a deeper sense.

This is where the future of social research lies, I think. It's too bad that the surface absurdity of it scares off serious consideration. The first entity that perfects controlling the elemental social forces of the Internet will be powerful indeed -- and I have a feeling it won't be something benevolent.
posted by codacorolla at 1:11 PM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


The thing I like about the statement "People deserve a place to be wrong" is that it can be interpreted in multiple ways, and we should provide a place to where all of those meanings are protected.

Yeah, and I think that's what /b/ is. It's people often being intentionally wrong. With bells on.

The fact that they're often trying too hard is part of the fun. And comments.

But you have to have an abrasive 'skin' to appreciate that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:12 PM on November 18, 2010


So what you're saying is — if you don't have the right type of skin, you won't get on with 4chan?!
posted by defenestration at 1:14 PM on November 18, 2010


"So what you're saying is — if you don't have the right type of skin, you won't get on with 4chan?!"

If it's not ablative, then no.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:19 PM on November 18, 2010


Consider this: You go out for drinks with a bunch of new people. One guy keeps dropping the n-bomb. Everyone else takes it in stride. Do you make the 4chan defense, or do you write these guys off as racists?

Uh, neither? I'd probably think the guy "dropping the n-bomb" was an ignorant asshole, but I'm not gonna draw any conclusions about the other people around simply because they didn't start a MeTa callout in the middle of the pub or whatever it is people think you have to do to demonstrate how open minded you are. In this scenario, we're also sitting at the table with this guy--so should we also expect to be written off as racist by everyone else? People here can be very quick to "write off" huge groups of people sometimes.
posted by Hoopo at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if someone has posted a link to this thread in /b/ by now. I'm sure they'd get a great laugh at the attempts at trying to capture fog in a jar here, peppered with the occasional "mfw i read metafilter".

There's no defining a thing this nebulous. Try to, and it changes form before your eyes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:22 PM on November 18, 2010


I wouldn't be surprised if someone has posted a link to this thread in /b/ by now. I'm sure they'd get a great laugh at the attempts at trying to capture fog in a jar here

I don't know why that's supposed to influence me in any way. They're welcome to whatever amuses them -- it doesn't mean they have one anything. Under no other circumstances do I let a the possibility that a deranged stranger might be laughing at me somewhere influence how I go about things, and I'm not about to give ?b? that power because they're supposedly some sort of super-troll.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:25 PM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


/b/, rather
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:26 PM on November 18, 2010


Not saying it's supposed to "influence" you. I was just imagining the peals of laughter erupting from them reading this thread, that's all. I frankly like the attempts being made by some, yourself included, to try and parse /b/. Some pretty thoughtful stuff has arisen from it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:28 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't try to understand them.

I just round them up and brand them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I missed you so much.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2010


Thanks, Astro Zombie! Yes, Mr. Ball. A very nice man.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2010


Actually, 4chan and /b/ are really easy to define at this point. Every time they come up, multiple people offer very succinct (and correct) definitions.

Perhaps you mean there's no defining their motives or intentions?



I'll give it a go:


Being part of something

Being "funny"

Being "shocking"

Being "in the know" about underground "internet stuff"

Being part of a permissive "community" where the bar for discussion is extremely low

Having a place to barter and exchange low-hanging fruit

Attempting to assuage ennui through e-nihilism that will bring no consequences to you "IRL"

Killing excess time that exists due to entitlement

Building internet badass cred to prove you're not a noob

Submitting oneself to groupthink, or in this case groupdon'tthink

Having a place to troll trolls and get trolled by trolls

Having a place to disseminate ugliness anonymously

Escaping the reality of your role in society and civilization and your personal life by being part of something, with no fixed identity, that completely differs from accepted norms
posted by defenestration at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: ....

I can't do it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You ever have a passing thought and think, oh man, that is so wrong, but I can't be the only person who sometimes thinks that? But there's no way you'd ever mention it to your friends, family, coworkers or metafilter.

/b/ is the place you can share that thought.
posted by empath at 1:57 PM on November 18, 2010


Do not tuant happy fun 4chan.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:01 PM on November 18, 2010


4chan users skew probably 20 years younger than mefites.

Ah, eight year olds.

Seriously, though, as a teenager I used to go on bolt.com and wind up happy hardcore fans. I'd never have, say, posted up pictures of dead kids or tracked down the home address of someone else on the internet and started harrassing them. And this was in the days where people posted their names and addresses all over Geocities with careless abandon.

i did, however, enjoy looking at the unusual porn section on Ask Jeeves. It was probably the /h/ of its day.
posted by mippy at 2:16 PM on November 18, 2010


"It would be more accurate to say that as a group, 4chan members are racists."

Oh, sure. If you want to invoke the one-drop rule.
posted by Eideteker at 2:23 PM on November 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think it speaks volume about someone when they think the determination of racism afoot signals the end of the conversation rather than the start of one.
posted by dustyasymptotes at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2010


Consider this: You go out for drinks with a bunch of new people. One guy keeps dropping the n-bomb. Everyone else takes it in stride. Do you make the 4chan defense, or do you write these guys off as racists?

They must be racists. The alternative requires me to consider the possibility that people of color could be admitted to a venue where alcohol is sold, or that I might find myself voluntarily in their social company - a clear impossibility!
posted by anigbrowl at 2:41 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is Alabama racist? Is California homophobic? Is New York?

There are racist/homophobic/etc. members of 4chan/reddit/etc. There are non-racist members, too.
posted by Eideteker at 2:49 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Consider this: You go out for drinks with a bunch of new people. One guy keeps dropping the n-bomb. Everyone else takes it in stride. Do you make the 4chan defense, or do you write these guys off as racists?"

I dunno. Is this guy black? Because if he is, I think I know that nigga, and he crazy.

I was totally going to write up a scenario for this thread where I created a chan and called it "NiggerChan." And everyone there would be a nigger. And as I was formulating the premise, the essential question came back to me: "Is this racist? Well, I guess it depends." Are the majority of users black? Are they doing it ironically? Is there generally a pro-black atmosphere?

There was a big conversation when The Boondocks came to TV about the use of "nigger" and racism as self-critique. The thing the show does best is reflect stereotypes back at black folks, sometimes uncomfortably. And there was a similar conversation around the "bed intruder" video/song. How much of it was tourism, ha ha ha lol black person, and how much of it was "hey, this guy is concerned about his family and is resilient in the face of adversity"? And, of course, the nice thing is that the family apparently made enough off of the song's popularity that they've moved out of the dangerous area they had been living in, so then was it a net good? And is net good what matters?

These are conversations we need to have. I have gone over and over a lot of these memes (since this is something that interests me personally) and some are uncomfortably on the racist side. Some are so over the top that they really do an excellent job of lampooning actual racist beliefs (not to say that there aren't always people who will take these literally). Some don't fall comfortably on either side of the line; whether because they're not actually meant to go one way or another, or because the folks who made them are sort of trying to identify how to handle this racial tension in their world (remember, most people aren't born racist, but have to learn it/choose to reject it consciously).

For the sake of these folks sitting on the sidelines and trying to deal with the exotic (I'm not black, but I'm supposed to have some feelings about it, right?) and for the sake of those who are themselves black, we need to keep working on this. And, as the Boondocks often illustrates/insinuates, for black folks to conquer racism, they must, for their part, do their best to NOT embody the stereotypes (esp. avoid Nigga Moments). Not victim blaming; I know that's not the whole picture, but every little bit helps.
posted by Eideteker at 3:07 PM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, really has no one really posted this yet?
posted by Eideteker at 3:19 PM on November 18, 2010


Consider this: You go out for drinks with a bunch of new people. One guy keeps dropping the n-bomb. Everyone else takes it in stride. Do you make the 4chan defense, or do you write these guys off as racists?

It's not one guy, it's everyone. Now maybe you're in the party of a bunch of racists, or maybe you're in the party of a bunch of people who want to see if that that gets a rise out of you.

4chan is more the latter.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:20 PM on November 18, 2010


Firstly, 4chan is not just /b/. Reducing all of 4chan to /b/ the way some of you do makes as much sense as people reducing all of MeFi to AskMe.

Secondly, when we discuss racism in 4chan (or when we discuss racism in any other context, for that matter) we need to remember the difference between the "what they did" conversation and the "what they are" conversation. Are there a lot of racist things posted on 4chan? Yes. Is 4chan racist? Who knows? None of us can see inside the soul of the 4channers as a whole, and as many have pointed out here there are a plethora of reasons that someone on 4chan could be posting racist content without necessarily being racist themselves.
posted by joedan at 3:32 PM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


what the fuck why does every conversation about racism turn it into something for black folks to conquer???? if anyone needs to 'conquer' racism, it's white folks. Comparing the racism of 4chan to Boondocks is absurd.
posted by dustyasymptotes at 3:32 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


failing to preview

*racism of /b/ because I agree that /b/ is substantively different from 4chan even if there's some shared practices/language use
posted by dustyasymptotes at 3:36 PM on November 18, 2010


/b/ is not just the aggregate of every single person ever that posts in /b/. We don't need to be able to see into the soul of every single person ever who posts in /b/ to say that /b/ is racist. Nor does it mean that because /b/ is racist every single person who posts in it is racist. What determines racism at a community level is its community practices and standards. /b/ is racist because it has racist community practices and standards. Racist community practices because it allows for the reflection of racism (homophobia/misogyny) of society and individuals at large. Racist community standards because people are expected to not make a fuss about cumdumpster tits or GTFO style language or pictures of blackfolk being lynched and the like.

This shit is not difficult to understand.

/b/ is ok with being racist (and homophobic/misogynistic). Why are people whiteknighting?
posted by dustyasymptotes at 3:46 PM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


They must be racists. The alternative requires me to consider the possibility that people of color could be admitted to a venue where alcohol is sold, or that I might find myself voluntarily in their social company - a clear impossibility!

Ouch, but fair enough. I was thinking it was a group of white people, men, or straight people as the case may be. So let's add the further stipulation that the use of the epithets aren't instances of members of an oppressed group performing some transvaluation of a term used in their oppression.

I mean, unless you think that 4chan is a bunch of queer, black women reclaiming this stuff.
posted by Marty Marx at 3:56 PM on November 18, 2010


schmod: "Fortunately, next month they'll replacing it with a shirt featuring a kickass 14th-century Apple Pie recipe."

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch..."
posted by Rhaomi at 3:59 PM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reducing all of 4chan to /b/ the way some of you do makes as much sense as people reducing all of MeFi to AskMe.

Yeah, I'm always confused when people talk about 4chan and they really mean /a/
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:26 PM on November 18, 2010


Cuz you cannot simply "get" or "explain" or "pin down" 4chan or /b/, dustyasymptotes. It's like god and stuff, you know?
posted by defenestration at 4:26 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it possible the "everyone that's out for beers with one random guy that keeps dropping the n-bomb must be racist too" example just doesn't have a lot of truth to it? Because it seems like what you're getting at is that anyone even unexpectedly in the presence of someone with racist attitudes can be dismissed as racist by proximity. Or applied to the 4chan example, that no one can have any reason to participate there unless they share the attitudes of the worst, most ignorant participants.
posted by Hoopo at 4:29 PM on November 18, 2010


Oops - meant to preview rather than post before adding the following - though I see you got the point I was trying to make about the possible reasons you might hear offensive terms in a bar; I couldn't resist teasing you about it because I have been in that exact situation (lone white person in other ethnic group) many times.

Of course I don't think 4chan is made up of black lesbians reclaiming their stuff - although I do think there are probably more minority people who post there than you suspect, and who have a different take on it. However, comparing with making offensive remarks among a social group at a bar is a bad analogy in the first place. When you go out socially with new people you're doing so to engage in some sort of social bonding, and your acceptance or rejection of some overtly racist remark is a measure of the relationship between you and those you are with - in this case, your comfort (or hopefully, lack of comfort) with ethnic exclusion/bigotry, or whatever form of intolerance is on display. how you react will define what sort of relationship you'll have (or not) with those people in the future, and vice-versa. It's very possible that if you go out for drinks with some people, you could run across them again in the future as neighbors, or customers, or because you're in the same profession or whatever. So you went out for drinks expecting some sort of social benefit, and the question you face if you discover your new friends are bigoted is whether you're prepared to sacrifice that social benefit, or even incur a social cost, by discontinuing the relationship or expressing an objection.

On 4chan (or /b/ in particular), by contrast, almost everyone posts anonymously. There is no secret login that lets them all recognize each other, so it's impossible to say what percentage of persons who go there make racist or other discriminatory remarks, or how consistently those remarks are made by the same people. One can only observe what percentage of anonymous posts appear to have racist or derogatory content. Similarly, if someone black, gay, or female goes to 4chan they will not in fact be called anything, since nobody else knows anything about their ethnicity, orientation, or gender. This might seem like an irrelevant detail since they'll see various offensive things posted anyway, but there is a rather significant difference between overhearing something you don't like and having it directed at you.

Indeed, if this person says 'Hey, I am black/gay/female and I find these disparaging remarks offensive!' they will receive a storm of even more disparaging remarks in response. On the other hand, if someone posts 'I am a white homophobic man and highly approve of disparaging other people!' then that too will typically get a storm of unfriendly remarks in response. In fact, anyone who goes to 4chan to demand respect for themselves themselves or their identity group is going to be treated badly. The only way to have any kind of fruitful conversation is to simply ignore anything you find offensive and contribute or respond things you find worthwhile. Since all posting is anonymous by default, there is no benefit to be had from participating or supporting anything you dislike. Reading or posting to threads that are racist or whatever won't increase your score or get you into any secret club, so there's no reason to do so if you don't want to. Only the content of what you post receives any consideration whatsoever, and the amount of time and effort someone puts into endorsing or condemning an old meme is generally inversely proportional to the probability that they will ever, themselves, post any original and entertaining content.

Defending 4chan for not censoring all objectionable speech is quite different from defending the objectionable speech or those who make it. It's legal (at least in the US) to walk around on the street or similar public place declaiming how much you hate ____ people. Other people may be offended, tell you to shut up, or punch you in the nose, but your right to express unpopular opinions is basically protected by the first amendment until you start actually threatening people or trying to provoke criminal acts. I don't always like the results, and as a European I was a bit shocked when I first came to the US at some of the things which were considered protected speech here (while being equally bemused by some of the things people try to exclude from such protections). But long experience suggests that the liberty value protected by the first amendment is more important than the comfort value that suffers as a result, and that social rather than legal sanction provides a more effective response to offensive or obnoxious speech.

Well, 4chan is like that street on a rainy night. Ugly and offensive remarks will accrue to the extent that you give their authors any attention. That they go unmoderated at 4chan says nothing about 'the 4chan community' any more than the existence of ranting street bigots because of the 4th amendment tells you anything much about the community of people who walk down that street, unable to know much about each other's identities due to the dark and the rain. The key difference between 4chan and this dark alley - and between 4chan and the bar with the repetitive racist - is that nobody can assault you physically. You can identify yourself and have a pointless argument with a bigot; or a meaningful conversation about the origin of their bigotry if you're actually curious; or remain anonymous but engage in non-bigoted humorous conversation; or whatever. Nothing can actually happen to you, and no bigots from there can easily identify your from your anonymous posting or reading and stalk your public identity, and whatever you say there, good or ill, won't add to or detract from the popularity of the next thing that you say. So the amount, quality and reward of time spent at 4chan is entirely up to the person who goes there.

Sometimes those anonymous people will collectively produce something of value or collectively act towards some worthy end. That they do so at all is notable only because its unusual. There is no higher guiding principle or secret positive agenda, it just depends on what sort of people are present at that time and how they are feeling. It's rather like when someone who's in danger at sea is rescued by dolphins: it's remarkable that anyone should get rescued that way, and we don't blame the dolphins for the fact that most people in that situation just drown while dolphins goof off or eat fish or make shark jokes.

/b/ is ok with being racist (and homophobic/misogynistic). Why are people whiteknighting?

I'm offended by your implication that white is the color of nobility and selfless defense of the innocent...nah, not really. But I've made a long argument above about why I don't think it's meaningful to refer to /b/ or 4chan as a 'community' in the first place. Nobody other than moot has much idea how many people post there, or how much time any given person spends there over the long or short term, or to what degree and in what way they participate. All the nice people could try and run all the bigoted people out of there, but even if they succeeded then the bigoted people would just find some other board or server to cluster around. Indeed, that sort of thing seems to happen intermittently but given the anonymity factor, it's kind of hard to measure it in any objective fashion.

A better question might to ask, if /b/ is racist/homophobic/misogynistic why it's so easy to find gay porn and all sorts of other stuff that generally isn't tolerated at all in reactionary societies. It seems to attract a high proportion of trans people, for example. Equally, while it's awash in Hitler humor (little of which I find even remotely funny), attempts at any serious expression of white nationalism tend to get buried in jeers or otherwise die a quick death. A fundamentally reactionary community would try to purge things it disapproves of, you'd think.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:30 PM on November 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Knowing 4chan, I bet most of those gay porn threads are just attempts to troll the straight population there. I don't think the gay/straight ratio is that different from other places.
posted by ymgve at 4:34 PM on November 18, 2010


>What determines racism at a community level is its community practices and standards. /b/ is racist because it has racist community practices and standards.

Your premise is flawed. /b/ is not a community. 4chan's forced anonymity* means you have no way of putting a name and face to words and actions, no way of determining who's "us" and who's "them", no way of knowing who's sincere and who's trolling, no way of knowing even how many people are participating in any of the "conversations" taking place. The situation's even more hopeless on /b/ due to the volume of posts there and the speed at which they age out. That's not a community, that's a clusterfuck.

For all you or I know, /b/ is one guy posting racist shit as fast as he can** , one guy trolling him in mock argument, and everyone else playing you-laugh-you-lose, completely ignoring the first two and waiting for some good porn to show up. Would that make /b/ as a whole racist? I would say no. Now, is that the actual makeup of /b/? I would say probably not.
"But nobody speaks out against racist content, so everybody must condone it", right? Except you don't know who "everybody" is or how many people it is you're trying to count, and you don't know how many people even saw the thread with the racist posts, and you don't know how many people actually do speak out against it.
And that's the whole point - it's impossible to gather enough information to know what's really going on. Anyone who says they know what /b/ "is" doesn't have the evidence to back up that claim.

* yeah yeah, tripcodes
** yeah yeah, flood protection

posted by xbonesgt at 4:36 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


on non-preview: anigbrowl said what I was trying to, only far more eloquently.
posted by xbonesgt at 4:38 PM on November 18, 2010


/b/ is ok with being racist (and homophobic/misogynistic). Why are people whiteknighting?

Because /b/ has been a prolific generator of some of the funniest Internet memes and content. It's led to the creation of companies such as Pet Holdings, Inc. and its properties like icanhascheezburger.com Like the Technology Review article states, other companies are wondering how they can encourage this creative output on their own sites.

In a sense, /b/ reminds me of the U.S. as a whole. Yes, sometimes they're both really ugly places, where minorities and the poor are treated like shit. But there's also a creative spark behind both of them, that has enabled the creation of tons of creative content and technology used throughout the world.

We could implement laws and rules making us all feel safer and better, but what effect would it have on our culture?

I mean, unless you think that 4chan is a bunch of queer, black women reclaiming this stuff.

It's not much whiter than metafilter.com itself, 78% vs. 77%.

I'm not arguing that the racism on 4chan is good. It provides a unique perspective and opportunity to view a creative factory at work. Could you separate the racism and offensiveness from the site while still preserving it's creative spark? I'm sure there are a ton of scripts thrown out every day by professional comedic writers because they "go to far."

The major difference is people can choose to opt-out of 4chan for the most part, but they can't opt-out of their own country, so we obviously need some protections in the real world.
posted by formless at 4:38 PM on November 18, 2010


Indeed, if this person says 'Hey, I am black/gay/female and I find these disparaging remarks offensive!' they will receive a storm of even more disparaging remarks in response.

Well that seals it then, doesn't it? Suppose someone who was not the target of the epithets walks up to the imagined group at the bar and says, "Hey, I'm black/queer/female, and I find these remarks offensive!" and receives a storm of even more disparaging remarks in response. Are you still going to say that people would be wrong to conclude the group was racist, sexist, or homophobic because not everyone in the group joined in (though no one objected or left)?
posted by Marty Marx at 4:52 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marty, you can draw any conclusion you like about the people in the bar, because I never said it would be wrong to assume such a group could be bigoted. My whole post above is to point out that there are fundamental differences between a group in a bar and an indeterminate number of completely anonymous people in an uncensored environment.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:19 PM on November 18, 2010


"Suppose someone who was not the target of the epithets walks up to the imagined group at the bar and says, "Hey, I'm black/queer/female, and I find these remarks offensive!""

Pics or GTFO.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:34 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Secondly, when we discuss racism in 4chan (or when we discuss racism in any other context, for that matter) we need to remember the difference between the "what they did" conversation and the "what they are" conversation."

Fundamental attribution error. There's a lot of this that goes on, especially in politics. You can't define someone by their actions. But you can address the actions.

Good link.
posted by Eideteker at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My whole post above is to point out that there are fundamental differences between a group in a bar and an indeterminate number of completely anonymous people in an uncensored environment.

Yeah, but I don't find it convincing that the anonymity of 4chan is a relevant fundamental difference. The bar scenario works even if everyone is a nameless drifter and it's too dark to tell anything more than a lot of these epithets are coming from the group. The potential for physical harm is also irrelevant -- it works if you assume that the objector only suffers psychic harm and that the bouncer will prevent any fights. There are bound to be differences--if there weren't it wouldn't be an analogy--but I don't think those differences are relevant.

I mean, if you want to say that it's good to have maximally uncensored fora, that's fine. If you want to say that racism, sexism, and homophobia are the unfortunate consequences of such a fora, that's fine. I'm only objecting to the last step, the apology that denies the rampant racism, sexism, and homophobia of this particular forum on the basis of not every individual member being a racist, sexist homophobe in their heart of hearts.

I'm not talking about the soul of 4chan here, but the social norms. The formal rule against censorship doesn't require a social norm that heaps derision on members of oppressed classes, but that's the social norm they've got, and that's the social norm I'm taking people to be denying on the basis of not being able to say every member is thrilled about white supremacy or whatever. That's why it makes sense to talk about "that racist/sexist/homophobic group of guys at the bar."

Pics or GTFO.
What does this even mean? Are you asking me to prove that these epithets are offensive? Or that this scenario is plausible? Is it really that hard to imagine a group of obnoxious dudes "jokingly" calling women names in a bar? Or are you just trolling? Cause there's this whole other website for that, I hear.

In any case, I'll keep reading comments, but I'm stepping away from the keyboard because I'm way too emotionally invested in this at this point to comment more.
posted by Marty Marx at 6:25 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


>Pics or GTFO.
>What does this even mean? Are you asking me to prove that these epithets are offensive? Or that this scenario is plausible?


Well, it's your scenario. You tell me if it's plausible

The GTFO ref is a from /b/. And most other highly viewed websites.

Don't know what else to tell you. You can ignore it, or you can let it eat at your very soul. Your choice.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:36 PM on November 18, 2010


Y'all postin' in a troll thread.

Seriously though, I had to laugh at the remark about "X who don't want to be called Y" up there because that is completely and utterly missing the point. On /b/, and I cannot hope to stress this enough, what you want or don't want is completely irrelevant. It will happen. Regardless. Any thing which supremely pleases or supremely offends you, no matter how commonplace or obscure, has a chance of occurring there. And there is nothing you can do about it. Not a single thing.

The only thing you can do if you want to participate is learn to not flip out over things you find offensive or objectionable. You don't have to like it, or accept it in your day-to-day life, or approve in any way in the real world. But if you want to participate in near-absolute freedom of speech, you need to accept that by and large human beings are dicks.

Otherwise, shrug and accept that it's not your kinda thing, and don't go there.
posted by nightchrome at 6:39 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Suppose someone who was not the target of the epithets walks up to the imagined group at the bar and says, "Hey, I'm black/queer/female, and I find these remarks offensive!" and receives a storm of even more disparaging remarks in response. Are you still going to say that people would be wrong to conclude the group was racist, sexist, or homophobic because not everyone in the group joined in (though no one objected or left)?

Seriously? Have you really NEVER been in a situation where you were with someone who said something totally objectionable, and you really wanted to say something, but you couldn't? Never had a jackass of a boss force you to go out for drinks and listen to her talk shit about people, and you can't say anything because you reallyreallyreally need to not be unemployed? Never had a family reunion where the slightest wrong word to one person will result in an explosion of hostility and ruin the weekend for everyone, so you just roll your eyes at some racist joke because it's easier to be tense for like 2 minutes than it is to be tense for 48 hours? No? Well, congrats.

I mean, like anigbrowl said, that has nothing to do with anything, because you're using real life morality and trying to apply it to online interactions. But the suggestion that people should conclude that anyone who doesn't say anything must agree with the person who said it is really wrong.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:41 PM on November 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


What does this even mean?

This means you've clearly never been to /b/, because they say that there all the time.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:42 PM on November 18, 2010


"Pics or GTFO."

This isn't /b/. Don't be an asshole just to prove that being an asshole on /b/ is normal.
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 PM on November 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Keep it down! They'll hear you!
posted by ambulocetus at 6:51 PM on November 18, 2010


This isn't /b/. Don't be an asshole just to prove that being an asshole on /b/ is normal.

*sigh* Again, you either get /b/ or you don't. I'm sorry if that seems recursive to you.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:58 PM on November 18, 2010


Yeah, no, I get 4chan. You don't seem to get MetaFilter.
posted by klangklangston at 7:03 PM on November 18, 2010


Yeah, no, I get 4chan. You don't seem to get MetaFilter.

Hrm. Possibly. I seem to have done well enough so far.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:10 PM on November 18, 2010


Really? How many comments did it take you to get that Cooks Source thing?
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on November 18, 2010


I figure the best way to find out what /b/ actually advocates is to look at what gets archived from /b/. 4chanarchive has only been going since 2005 and I've only trawled through some 100 pages of it so far, but I'm as yet to run across an archived thread devoted to rascism, sexism or any other -ism. I've found a huge amount of threads celebrating particularly deft combos, insane amounts of Bel-air, phone hassling of companies for products that they don't stock, guides to lucid dreaming and infographics.
posted by fido~depravo at 7:33 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"This isn't /b/. Don't be an asshole just to prove that being an asshole on /b/ is normal."

Somebody missed the joke and is cranky. lol y u mad tho?
posted by Eideteker at 7:40 PM on November 18, 2010


btw
posted by Eideteker at 7:43 PM on November 18, 2010


OMG EIDETEKER UR SO RITE Y I NO SEE THAT ONLY PEOPLE NO GET /b/TARDS ANNOYED BY /b/TARD?!?!?!?!?!??!??!??!?@!11111111
posted by klangklangston at 7:54 PM on November 18, 2010



Really? How many comments did it take you to get that Cooks Source thing?


I give up. How many?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:22 PM on November 18, 2010


This isn't /b/. Don't be an asshole just to prove that being an asshole on /b/ is normal.

Duder, being an asshole on metafilter is normal.
posted by Snyder at 11:35 PM on November 18, 2010


Marty Marx,

I guess one of the things about /b/ - and you're talking about /b/ here, not all of 4chan - is that people learn to only enter the threads they wish to. I'm quite sure there's a core of racists, and really quite a lot more sexism. But I guess the thing that might enable you to get /b/ is that the people don't actually think that driving around in a van marked 'free candy' and abducting children is actually a good idea, and it's more about the reaction that something produces than what it is and whether they agree with it. If people know about them, the weaknesses and emotional hotspots of others will be used to savage them for the amusement of the /b/tards.

Imagine an infinite number of monkeys throwing faeces at the wall to see what sticks and/or produces amusing results. This is often /b/, and as one of the few uncensored spaces on the web it gets a disproportionate amount of it. /b/ is a competitive and anonymous showing off machine, and people will excel in both offensiveness and other things. Outside of the trolling (and occasional genuine racism/sexism/whateverism, as mentioned above) other people make insightful and occasionally awe-inspiringly smart comments on other threads and other 4chan boards. Because of that variety you'll get out what you want to, and whilst if you go looking to be offended you doubtlessly will be that isn't all there is.

PS: klang klang, wouldn't your comments be better in Metatalk if anywhere? You seem a little overly irritated and ad hominem with ChurchHatesTucker at the moment.
posted by jaduncan at 11:39 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This isn't /b/. Don't be an asshole just to prove that being an asshole on /b/ is normal.

He's not being an asshole, by suggesting that MM needs to show why this is a meaningful parallel that sheds any light on anything. I f find it telling that every version of this bar scenario involves a new set of conditions; first it was a question about how someone should evaluate behavior within a social group they've chosen to join, in the most recent iteration it's turned into a completely dark room full of nameless drifters.

Similarly, the insistence that a particular set of objectionable behaviors is what defines the social norm, without foundation or consideration of equally prevalent but incompatible behaviors is strained, to say the least. You can always describe something and condemn that which is described, but if it doesn't reflect reality in any meaningful way then it's not very persuasive. Although I quite agree that some of the material posted to 4chan/b/ is put there as a display of bigotry, I'm far from persuaded that this represents a norm of any kind.

It's not that people should hold back from saying that they find some/much/all of the content there offensive. I've felt offended by things I've read there on numerous occasions, both personally and in a more general sense. Just like if I went out while it was raining, I would get wet.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:02 AM on November 19, 2010


I love how this thread is like 90% chock full of people who have been epically massively trolled by /b/. The way /b/ appears to outsiders is not the way it is. The two /b/s could not be further apart if one of them was the hellokitty.com forums.
posted by tehloki at 1:29 AM on November 19, 2010


Oh hey people. hot topic realized they were being trolled and will continue selling the shirt.

Also, thanks to everyone for posting examples of the moronic adulation I was talking about earlier.
posted by Paris Hilton at 3:30 AM on November 19, 2010


Relevant.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:40 AM on November 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, Hot Topic posted on Facebook that they will continue doing so. Honestly, I wouldn't be poking that hornets nest twice in a row myself, but it's their funeral. We'll all be back here in, oh, a few weeks or so.
Hot Topic might as well start selling shirts with a big "/b/" on the front.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:45 AM on November 19, 2010


A: Hey man, we're having a shit party, wanna come?
B: A what party?
A: A shit party.
B: A shit whaty?
A: We all get together in a vacant lot and everybody takes a shit on the floor in a big circle, and then we get barefoot and stand in it and do a conga line.
B: Why would you do that?
A: Oh man, you have to understand, some of these guys are fuckin' funny.
posted by cortex at 8:36 AM on November 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Back OT, I have to say that I have a soft spot for Hot Topic. A few years back MC Lars came out with a song called "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock."

They simply began selling MC Lars CDs.

That's kinda punk rock.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's kinda punk rock.

I think that's capitalism.
posted by gladly at 9:31 AM on November 19, 2010


I hate Gawker, but this is pretty interesting: 4chan Censors Itself.

moot wants go legit, so that means more 4chan censorship. First he takes away their TUMBLR WARZ... what's next?!?
posted by defenestration at 10:09 AM on November 19, 2010


I think that's capitalism.

Which is pretty punk rock. At least according to McLaren.

I dunno, I gotta respect a joint that will sell you a CD telling denigrating the place you just bought it from. And Lars is an indie artist, so they had to go out of their way to even stock it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:31 AM on November 19, 2010


You guys don't know fuck-all about punk rock, because y'all don't own a Subaru.
posted by Skot at 10:59 AM on November 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate Gawker, but this is pretty interesting: 4chan Censors Itself.

Not really. It's quite a while (like a year or two) since I visited 4chan at all, but last time I looked, the word 'seven' wordfiltered to 'over 9000,' among other japes. Wordfiltering as a shiny distraction/crowd control tool has a long history over there, so I feel pretty safe in saying that the Gawker writer has no idea what he's on about. But that seems to be de rigeur if you want to work for that particular company.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:01 AM on November 19, 2010


But it said they were deleting the posts out-right, not just word filtering.
posted by defenestration at 11:53 AM on November 19, 2010


I dunno, I gotta respect a joint that will sell you a CD telling denigrating the place you just bought it from.

So they sell CDs and improve their image? That's quite a risk they took.
posted by gladly at 11:57 AM on November 19, 2010


So they sell CDs and improve their image? That's quite a risk they took.

Well, they're essentially promoting an artist who has taken a pot-shot at them. And they went out of their way to sell it.

So, yeah, it obviously worked for me.

Better than a trademark lawsuit, anyhoo.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:03 PM on November 19, 2010


Is there any way to get rid of Gawker media? They're using up bytes that could go to much better uses.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2010


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